A new set of regulations being considered by the National Park Service would place serious hurdles in the way of organizing protests on the National Mall or at the White House, potentially making such demonstrations a thing of the past.
UE General President Peter Knowlton sent the following comment on behalf of the national union:
The right to peacefully protest, regardless of ability to pay or political belief, is guaranteed under the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution. Financially or physically restricting the people's ability to exercise this right is an undue infringement, privatizes public spaces, and further erodes our democracy.
On behalf of my union, the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) we register our strong objection to the proposed new rules and call on the National Park Service to embrace the 1st Amendment to the US Constitution and reject any infringement, financially or otherwise, on the people's right to assemble, petition, or protest on National Park Service or other public spaces.
Our friends at Defending Rights & Dissent have put together a useful guide for submitting your own comments (which are due by this coming Monday, October 15).
UE has a proud history of mobilizing our members to join national protests for workers' rights, civil rights, women's rights and against war and so-called "free trade" regimes.
For more on why this is a trade-union issue, see UE Policy, "Defend Our Civil Liberties."